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Funding for Estuary Programs

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Clean Water Act Section 320 (Estuary Programs) Set-Aside for Privately-Owned Projects

Procedures to Ensure Project Consistency with Delaware’s Comprehensive Conservation Management Plans:
This set-aside is a funding allocation to implement Clean Water Act (CWA) Section 320 privately-owned water quality improvement projects with Clean Water State Revolving Fund (CWSRF) loans. Up to $5 million will be made available to private individuals, companies (profit and non-profit), and other entities to fund privately owned water quality improvement projects that are within Delaware’s “estuary zones,” and that are consistent with Delaware’s Comprehensive Conservation and Management Plans (CCMPs) prepared pursuant to Section 320.

The geographical scope of Delaware’s estuary zones consist of the Inland Bays and Delaware Bay and include the drainage areas and tributaries to these estuaries. The CWSRF authority to provide financial assistance to privately owned water quality improvement projects within a state’s estuary zones, consistent with CCMPs, is authorized in EPA’s draft guidance document "The Clean Water State Revolving Fund Program: Tapping its Untapped Potential."

CCMP goals for CWA Section 212 (publicly owned treatment works), and Section 319 (non-point source pollution remediation), overlap with Section 320. However, CCMPs includes point sources of pollution and other estuarine zone goals previously not eligible under Section 212 or Section 319. As a result, the Section 320 authority provides the opportunity to fund privately owned water quality improvement projects that may require environmental permits. 

The principles that guide Delaware’s CWSRF funding decisions for CWA Section 320 projects are:

     1. All Section 320 projects must be consistent with the relevant CCMPs and must be sanctioned by the Plan.
     2. Section 320 projects can be either publicly or privately owned (although this section applies only to privately-owned projects).
     3. Eligible costs are limited to capital costs. (Planting trees and shrubs, purchasing equipment, environmental cleanups and the development and initial delivery of education programs are eligible capital projects).   
     4.  Projects must have a clear demonstrable net benefit to the water quality of the estuary zone. (This includes protection of public water supplies and the protection and propagation of a balanced, indigenous population of shellfish, fish, and wildlife, and allows recreational activities, in and on water, and requires the control of point and nonpoint sources of pollution to supplement existing controls of pollution).  
     5. Only the portions of a project that remediate, mitigate the impacts of, or prevent water pollution in an estuary zone may be funded. In many cases, water quality protection is combined with other elements of an overall project. Where the water quality portion of a project is clearly distinct from other portions of the project, only the water quality portion can be funded by the CWSRF. Should an element of a project have multiple environmental benefits, including but not limited to water quality protection or improvement, that element shall be considered eligible.

CWSRF financial assistance opportunities under Section 320 for certain categories of eligibilities, in addition to eligibilities under Section 212 and Section 319 authority include the following:

     1. Stormwater
     2. Water Conservation and Reuse
     3. Mining
     4. Animal Feeding Operations
     5. Landfills
     6. Trading
     7. Atmospheric Deposition
     8. Privately-Owned Municipal Wastewater Treatment Facilities

Proposed Section 320 projects can be submitted for CWSRF funding consideration under this set-aside at any time.  Applicants must provide a detailed overview of their proposed project and describe how it is consistent with the relevant CCMP. The Partnership for the Delaware Estuary and the Center for Inland Bays CCMPs can be downloaded here and

The proposed project overview should be e-mailed and a hard copy sent to DNREC at the address below. The appropriate estuary organization will review the proposed project and render an opinion of consistency relative to their CCMP; DNREC’s Secretary will make the final decision. 

If a proposed project is determined to be consistent with a CCMP, the applicant will be asked by DNREC to submit a CWSRF loan application for environmental and financial reviews. If the estimated project cost exceeds $250,000 the proposed project will be presented to the Clean Water Advisory Council (CWAC) for a funding recommendation. If the proposed project cost is less than $250,000 and the environmental and financial reviews are acceptable to DNREC, a Binding Loan Commitment Letter will be offered to the applicant. After the letter has been signed and returned, loan closing will be arranged with legal counsel. The CWSRF interest rate policy will apply to all approved loans under this set-aside.

Contact Information
Department of Nature Resources and Environmental Control
Environmental Finance
97 Commerce Way, Suite 106
Dover, Delaware 19904

Carla M. Cassell-Carter
Acting Administrator
Phone: 302-739-9941


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